Opposition tears into Modi government over falling GDP
The opposition on Thursday attacked the Modi government over the decline in GDP growth during the last quarter in 2016-17, saying their fear of demonetisation impacting the economy had come true.
Even as Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley sought to debunk demonetisation impacting the economy, the Congress, Trinamool Congress, CPI-M and AAP unanimously blamed the demonetisation for the GDP growth plummeting to 6.1 per cent in the last quarter.
Leading the attack over "falling GDP", Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi accused the Modi-led NDA government of using diversionary ploys.
"Falling GDP, rising unemployment. Every other issue is manufactured to distract us from this fundamental failure," Gandhi said on Twitter.
Former Finance Minister and Congress leader P. Chidamabaram warned of the economy going down even further if corrective steps were not taken immediately.
"What the Congress and the opposition have been saying has been proved true. The economy was slowing down in the middle of 2016. Instead of taking corrective measures, the government came up with this extraordinarily foolish measure of demonetisation and that has set back the economy even further," he said.
Chidambaram, who had predicted demonetisation to affect growth by 1-1.5 per cent, further said: "How long can the government fool itself and fool the people of India by saying all is well. Investments are declining, credit growth is negative to most sectors and there are no jobs.
"The economy is going down very rapidly and unless corrective measures are taken, the economy will go down even further. We have warned the government. We are forewarning the people of India," he added.
One of the most vocal critics of demonetisation, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee too slammed the Centre.
"Right at the time demonetisation was announced, I had voiced my concern that the country would have to face severe loss of jobs and drastic decline in productivity. My apprehension is now proven to be true," she said on Facebook.
"What the people, who pushed the country to this crisis, have to say," asked Banerjee.
Communist Party of India-Marxist General Secretary Sitaram Yechury ridiculed the government for its celebrations of three years of its completion.
"We were told that the demonetisation will help India grow faster. This is the faster growth they promised," Yechury said on social networks.
"Internal security is in a mess, economy is slowing down, farmers committing suicide, social fabric is being torn apart, and the government is celebrating all this as three years of great governance," said the Marxist veteran.
The Aam Aadmi Party held demonetisation to be the biggest contributor for the decline in GDP growth and demanded a white paper.
"Like the truth about economic development has come out now, the truth about demonetisation will also come out," AAP leader Dilip Pandey said.
"Many economists around the world have concluded that the biggest contributor for the fall in GDP has been demonetisation," he said, demanding that the Central government release a white paper and apologise for "cheating" people in the name of demonetisation of November 2016.
Earlier in the day, Jaitely, dismissing criticism on demonetisation, asserted that there were several factors even earlier like global slowdown which cumulatively impacted the economy.
He also said the criticism of jobless growth was a propaganda by opponents who had nothing substantial to comment on the government's performance.